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Host Kris Halterman will continue discussion about the “Green Apple” project between Renewable Energy Group and Phillips 66. Also, up for discussion is an update on the Climate Action Task Force’s recommendations to the Bellingham City Council, with Lance Calloway.

 *Renewable energy amendment begins at time stamp 3:26:00button 2

 *Final Resolution of amendment begins at time stamp 4:14:25


This week in the news there were two items of interest and concern that were reported upon, which are not getting the public attention they deserve.

First is the new Paid Family Medical Leave. On January 1, 2020, the State of Washington began to take application for resident—employees in Washington State for 12 to 16, and potentially up to 18 weeks of paid leave. At the last report 22,000 people have applied for PFML; a 300% increase in what the state projected to have received. The news report stated that the agency handling PFML are understaffed and scrambling to process these applications.

It comes as no surprise to me that this would occur, because as a member of the financial accounting community who processes payroll for a number of businesses, I could’ve told the legislators who passed this bill that the amount of tax being collected would not pay for this program or the benefits to be paid out.

The other issue I have with PFML being run by a government agency is the potential for fraud and an abuse of the taxpayer’s property. It will be very difficult, if not impossible, for government agencies to review and dispense these benefits in a manner that will ensure against fraud. The best way for such a plan to be implemented, would’ve been to give a credit to the business owner(s) who choose to offer this benefit. What could that credit look like? It could be a credit against their overall state B&O tax liability – a state B&O tax which needs to be reformed anyway. The employer knows if their employee is pregnant, or their spouse or significant other are pregnant, if a family member has a long-term care need, because they have a direct connection to their employee’s and whether or not the employee is in honest need of this benefit.

Secondly, in the news this week was the states’ new B&O tax for education which, again, is already under water because so many students have applied for this benefit. To pay for this benefit the state increased the service industry B&O tax by 20%. I would advise anyone listening to this monologue to pay attention, they will be coming back for more money because they’ve made a promise and it’s not their money they’re spending, it is yours. It is the money you need to reinvest into your business to pay your employees, to pay your vendors, and to pay yourself if there’s anything leftover.

Pay attention people--the legislature is early into their session for this year and these bills were passed without proper economic analysis to ensure that they would be able to deliver on the promises ‘and’ not harm the economic vitality of our state and the businesses who  operate here.